Hall Road West,
L23 8SZ ,
- +44 (0)151 924 1076
9 miles north of Liverpool.
Weekdays only, not before 9.30am
West Lancashire Golf Club is the oldest surviving golf club in Lancashire, although, strictly speaking, Blundellsands is now part of the borough of Merseyside. In 1901, Harold Hilton, one of the finest amateur golfers of all time, was the Secretary of West Lancashire Golf Club. That same year, he won the British Amateur Championship at St Andrews, beating J Low by one hole. Hilton was also the British Open champion in 1892 and 1897, a feat only surpassed by Bobby Jones, who won the British Open on three occasions, also as an amateur.
The club was founded in 1873. The course was originally designed by the hands of an unknown architect, but this is such a natural links that we suspect Mother Nature did most of the work. We do know that Ken Cotton and Fred Hawtree made significant revisions to the layout in the early 1960s.
Its esteemed Royal neighbours keep West Lancs out of the limelight but it is a truly classical links course, located on a charming stretch of prime links land. On a clear day, to the north, Blackpool Tower can be seen in the distance. To the southwest, there are panoramic views across the Crosby Channel to the Birkenhead peninsula and Liverpool Bay beyond.
James Finnegan, in his book All Courses Great and Small, articulately sums up the characteristics of West Lancs: “On the 355-yard 13th, we fire away from an elevated tee, the fairway curving left along a dune-framed valley to a green on a cunning low plateau. The next hole, 412 yards, also begins on a high tee in the sandhills, but this time the downhill drive is blind, over a ridge, and the fairway bends sweepingly right, around a thick stand of pines, finally disclosing a raised green tucked in the lee of a wooded hillside.”
The Guinness Book of Golf Facts and Feats tells the amazing story of Peter Richard Parkinson who, on 6th June 1972, at West Lancs, performed the British Isles’ longest hole in one. It was on the 7th hole, and clearly it was a mistake because the 7th is called “Folly”, a 393-yard par four. Either way, it was one hell of a biff!
Stuart King commented on James Finnegan’s description as follows: “I have been a member at West Lancashire for over 40 years and never seen the 14th tee that is reported as being in the sandhills!”
Played West Lancashire a couple of weeks ago on a benign but rather damp day. Having played all the other links courses on the Lancs coast from St Annes Old Links in the north to Formby in the south, it was exciting to play West Lancs (the most southerly links course on this amazing stretch of coastline). If I lived in this part of the world, West Lancs is probably the club where I’d most like to be a member. The other clubs may have better courses e.g. Formby, Hillside and S&A but non seem as friendly overall as West Lancs. Despite being a little rough around the edges, West Lancs reminded me of a bit of Donegal (Murvagh) and had a striking similarity to Western Gailes. WL has a cracking set of par threes, some excellent putting surfaces and friendly routing that takes you back to the clubhouse after nine holes… highly unusual for an old-fashioned links. I’d put WL on any itinerary when planning a trip to this part of England. Take time to savour the panoramic views from the clubhouse balcony where you can watch the ships sail by on Liverpool Bay… a thoroughly enjoyable experience but don't expect an easy ride as this course is more than 7,000 yards from the back tees.